The phrase Dead Sea Scrolls is used in two senses, one generic and one particular. In the generic sense the phrase denotes documents and literary texts discovered at various sites along the shore of the Dead Sea and extending up to Jericho. These sites include Masada, Wadi Murabba῾at, Naḣal Ḥever, Naḣal Ṣe῾elim, Naḣal Mishmar, Khirbet Mird, and Ketef Jericho. In the particular sense the phrase specifies the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek literary texts found in eleven caves near the site of Qumran.

Qumran Caves 1–11.

The first seven of what have since come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls (in the particular sense) appeared in the summer of 1947 in Bethlehem. Coming from the hands of bedouin, their original provenance was unknown. As the significance of these scrolls became apparent, authorities made efforts to determine precisely where they had originated. Qumran Cave 1 was soon identified, and excavations began there in February 1949. These excavations lasted for about one month. The excavators discovered many text fragments, along with pieces of cloth and wood, olive and date stones, leather phylactery cases, and pottery sherds. Some of the text fragments belonged to the seven scrolls the bedouin had offered for sale, thus clinching the identification of the original findspot.

From this time began a competition of sorts between the authorities concerned with preserving manuscripts and recording archaeological details and the bedouin, who were concerned with making a small fortune from the sale of scroll materials. Both groups sought new manuscript-bearing caves. In February 1952, bedouin found Cave 2 and sold some of its fragments. Officials immediately set to investigating the cave systematically, along with all the rock cliffs in the Qumran region. Cave 3 thereupon yielded up its treasures to authorities. Subsequently, two additional rock-cliff caves bearing manuscripts were discovered: Cave 6, found by the Arabs In 1952, and Cave 11, found In 1956. The latter cave contained some of the most important and complete scrolls.

In addition to these natural caves, six caves artificially hollowed out of marl terraces eventually came to light: Caves 4, 5, and 7–10. By far the richest manuscript remains belonged to Cave 4, which was discovered first by the bedouin and then, after it had been badly pilfered, excavated by officials In September 1952. This cave contained portions of hundreds of different manuscripts, many showing evidence of deliberate destruction in antiquity. This same 1952 campaign succeeded in identifying Cave 5. It remained for the campaign of 1955 to discover Caves 7–9. The tenth cave, discovered in the vicinity of Cave 4, contained no manuscripts, only an ostracon inscribed in Hebrew. Altogether, the manuscripts found in Caves 1–11 number approximately 825.

Khirbet Qumran.

The presence of eleven manuscript-bearing caves that seemed to radiate north and south from the place known by the Arabic name Khirbet Qumran (its ancient appellation is uncertain) suggested that the site itself ought to be excavated. The Jordanian Department of Antiquities, the Palestine Archaeological Museum (now the Rockefeller Museum), and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem undertook joint campaigns, beginning In 1951 and continuing for five seasons. The results of those excavations were never published scientifically, although preparations to do so are now underway. Preliminary descriptions written by Roland de Vaux, who headed the project, distinguished four basic occupational levels: one in the seventh century BCE and three others from about 100 BCE to shortly after the fall of Jerusalem In 70 CE.

Recently, questions have been raised about a direct connection between the scrolls and Khirbet Qumran that may lessen the interest of the archaeological data. For example, Pauline Donceel-Voute, one of those responsible for full publication of the de Vaux excavations, has shown that the principal evidence for the “scriptorium”—the plastered “tables” upon which scribes were imagined to have copied out the scrolls—points instead to a triclinium (a dining room). The tables may have been couches on which the diners would have reclined. Furthermore, the identification of hundreds of individual scribal hands for the scrolls and scroll fragments is difficult to square with the notion that Qumran scribes exclusively produced the scrolls at the site. Were that the case, many fewer hands and many more texts traceable to a given scribe could be expected. Recent archaeological investigation has failed to reveal any paths leading from the site to the caves where the texts were cached. This discovery is a formidable obstacle to the popular conception that a community living on the site would have retired to the caves—especially to Cave 4—to study their holy writings.

Finds from Other Sites.

Masada, Wadi Murabba῾at, Naḣal Ḥever, Naḣal Ṣe῾elim, Naḣal Mishmar, Khirbet Mird, and Ketef Jericho have all yielded documentary texts of the late Second Temple period, and in a few cases literary texts were also found. Excavations at Masada from 1963 to 1965, led by Yigael Yadin, discovered seven biblical and nine nonbiblical literary texts. Almost all of the nonbiblical texts seem to have some connection with the Qumran texts, and in at least two cases copies of the same literary work were found at both sites (see below). The Masada excavations also yielded numerous ostraca inscribed in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin, although only the Semitic materials are certainly connected with the Jewish occupation of the years 66–73 (74?) CE. [See Masada.]

Excavations In 1952, combined with bedouin cave combing in the several caves in Wadi Murabba῾at, resulted in the discovery of nearly one hundred texts, many dating to the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132–135 CE). These finds comprised biblical and nonbiblical literary materials, Hebrew and Aramaic letters and contracts, Greek and Latin documentary materials (mostly from a later date), and five Arabic texts from later centuries. [See Murabba῾at.]

Naḣal Ḥever, Naḣal Ṣe῾elim and Naḣal Mishmar were explored by a joint expedition from the Hebrew University, the Israel Exploration Society, and the Israel Department of Antiquities In 1960–1961. The finds from Naḣal Ḥever number some sixty-five texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Nabatean, and Greek. Primary among these finds are the Babatha archive (thirty-seven Greek, six Nabatean, and three Aramaic contracts), the so-called Archive of the En-Gedites (six Hebrew and Aramaic contracts leasing state lands), and a packet of fifteen letters to military leaders in charge of ῾Ein-Gedi at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Indeed, like the Murabba῾at texts, all of the important Naḣal Ḥever finds date to that approximate period, as do those from Naḣal Ṣe῾elim and Naḣal Mishmar.

The materials originally thought to have come from Naḣal Ṣe῾elim were discovered by bedouin In 1951 or 1952 and sold to authorities. Later, additional fragments belonging to some of these “Naḣal Ṣe῾elim” manuscripts were discovered by archaeologists at Naḣal Ḥever, thereby suggesting that the bedouin finds actually originated there and not at Naḣal Ṣe῾elim. The designation remains as a matter of convenience. These materials include four very fragmentary biblical manuscripts, phylacteries, some fifteen Hebrew and Aramaic documents, five Nabatean deeds, two Greek legal texts, and a scroll of the Minor Prophets written in Greek. Written materials from Naḣal Mishmar are exiguous, comprising papyrus lists of names in Greek.

From Khirbet Mird come portions of a lectionary, an inscription, a letter, and a magical text—all inscribed in Christian Palestinian Aramaic—and one hundred Arabic papyri. [See Palestinian Aramaic.] These texts date a millennium later than the Qumran texts. Excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at Ketef Jericho In 1986 and 1994 uncovered portions of at least six economic documents in Aramaic and Greek dating to the period of Bar Kokhba, and two documentary texts dating to the third or fourth centuries BCE.

Biblical Texts from Caves 1–11.

Among the manuscripts that have emerged from the Qumran caves scholars have identified about two hundred biblical scrolls and fragments. The number of texts of each book so far identified (the numbers continue to change somewhat as study continues) is as follows: Genesis (15), Exodus (15), Leviticus (8), Numbers (6), Deuteronomy (25), Joshua (2), Judges (3), Ruth (4), Samuel (4), Kings (3), Isaiah (19), Jeremiah (4), Ezekiel (6), Minor Prophets (8), Psalms (30), Job (5), Proverbs (2), Ecclesiastes (1), Song of Songs (4), Lamentations (4), Esther (0), Daniel (19), Ezra-Nehemiah (1), and Chronicles (1). As the list shows, every book of the Hebrew Bible appears among the Qumran caches, except for Esther. It is hard to know whether the absence of this book is purely fortuitous or is meaningful. In the same way, it may or may not be legitimate to draw conclusions from the relative frequency of the various books.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Previously, scholars had no Hebrew manuscript of any book antedating the medieval period. Now there is access to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, revealing texts in substantial agreement with the Masoretic text as well as widely variant forms. Readings differing from the Masoretic version often agree with known streams of textual tradition, particularly those represented by the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch. The fact that the major versional types of texts are already present in the Qumran manuscripts has naturally led to attempts to explain the emergence of the later text families. Three basic positions have resulted. The first, known as the theory of local texts, is particularly associated with Frank M. Cross. This theory sees different text forms developing in Babylonia, Palestine, and Egypt—that is, in the three major centers of Jewish civilization in the crucial period 200 BCE–200 CE. Few scholars find this theory convincing; it is simply too artificial and does not account for the complexity of the evidence. A second approach is championed by Shemaryahu Talmon, who hypothesizes that the key to the survival of any particular text type was its acceptance by a definable community. The inference would follow that many text types disappeared in ancient times. The third position is that of Emanuel Tov, for whom the scrolls do not confirm the existence of given text types as such. Rather, because they resist typological differentiation (unlike, e.g., the Byzantine text type of the New Testament), the Masoretic text, the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch are representative merely of three texts. One thing is certain: the farther back in time the texts go, the less uniform they are. Pluriformity, not uniformity, was the rule. This realization has heightened appreciation of the versional evidence vis-à-vis the Masoretic text. The Septuagint, in particular, has grown in scholarly estimation.

Of course, the scrolls bear on many other critical matters involved with the Hebrew Bible, of which a few examples must suffice. The absence of verses 42:12–17 from the epilogue of Job as represented in 11Q Targum Job (the designation 11Q means that the text was discovered in Cave 11 at Qumran) may support the view that the prologue and epilogue (that is to say, the prose portions of the book) are linguistically late and were added recently in the book's history. Text 11QPsalmsa raises numerous questions, focusing particularly on the problem of canon in the Second Temple period. The order of the psalms in the 11Q text differs from the Masoretic version, and at least once, the scroll contains a canonical psalm in a different recension (Ps. 145). Certain smaller groupings of psalms, such as the Song of Ascents and the Passover Hallel—viewed by the Masoretic text as units—are scattered throughout the Qumran psalter. Taken together with other “deviant” Psalms scrolls, such as 11QPsb, 4QPsf, and 4QPsq, and with the many that appear identical to the Masoretic text, 11QPsa indicates that different forms of the biblical book circulated, all apparently equally acceptable to user communities. Various nonbiblical texts described below, which may have had “canonical” status for some groups, support the conclusion arising from the biblical texts: at least the third division of the canon, the Writings, was still fluid at the time of the scrolls.

Nonbiblical Writings from Caves 1–11.

Important as the biblical materials are, for the student of Second Temple Judaism the real treasures are the nonbiblical scrolls. After all, the books of the Bible have long been known, whereas most of the six hundred-odd nonbiblical texts are new. They increase exponentially what was known of Jewish intellectual life in that period. Most were written in Hebrew, generally in a form of late Biblical Hebrew, but sometimes in a form of the language nearer to the spoken dialects. Slightly more than one hundred texts are inscribed in Aramaic; about twenty are in Greek (mostly from Cave 7). These materials are so rich that the following description pretends to nothing more than a partial and provisional survey.

Legal and regulatory texts.

A substantial proportion of the Dead Sea Scrolls are legal and regulatory texts of various kinds. Two of the longest and most common are the Damascus Document and the Rule of the Community. [See Damascus Document; Rule of the Community.]

A third legal work, extant in six copies from Cave 4, is known as 4QMMT (an anagram for the Hebrew words “Some of the Laws of the Torah”; 4Q394–399). At least one copy of this text begins with a calendrical exposition. Legal rulings on about twenty-three topics follow, all involving temple purity and priestly gifts. The final section of the work is an admonition to right practice. The MMT text may have been a letter, although the names of the writer and the addressee have not survived. The work purports to address its urgings to a king. Scholars are still uncertain whether this king was a Hasmonean or a first-century CE figure such as Agrippa I; for adherents of paleographic dating, only the first option seems possible.

Other legal texts include 4Q159, Ordinances, extant apparently in two additional copies (4Q513–514). This work interprets biblical laws governing gleaning by the poor, the half-shekel Temple tax, and the prohibition on selling an Israelite into slavery. Text 4Q251 combines portions from the Rule of the Community and the Damascus Document—with slight differences—with legal materials drawn from other sources. Text 4Q274, Toharot A, treats seven-day impurities incurred by touching the dead, skin diseases, and menstruation. Texts 4Q 276–277, known as Toharot B, deal inter alia with the law of the red heifer (Nm. 19). Text 4Q477, known by the title Decrees of the Sect, is a record of legal discipline that includes actual proper names—a great rarity among the scrolls. One man, Hananiah Nitos, is reproved for “turn[ing] aside the spirit of the community.” A major legal work, one copy of which extends for sixty-six columns, is the Temple Scroll (11Q19–20). [See Temple Scroll.]

Biblical interpretation.

Numerous Dead Sea Scrolls pursue other sorts of biblical interpretation than legal application. Perhaps the most important scrolls here are the so-called pesharim. These writings understand prophetic portions of the Hebrew Bible (including Psalms, conceived as prophecies) to describe the interpreter's own time. Scholars commonly group these works into two categories: thematic pesharim and continuous pesharim. Thematic pesharim constitute unconnected biblical portions organized around a central theme. Continuous pesharim comment seriatim on biblical verses or even whole books. At least fifteen scrolls fit into this latter category.

Continuous pesharim ignore what is considered the literal meaning of the biblical text. Their interest is in explaining mysterious truth revealed only to the author and his group. The most complete of these commentaries is the pesher Habakkuk. [See Habakkuk Commentary.] It preserves thirteen virtually complete columns, covering Habakkuk 1–2. The pesher Psalms (4Q171) is also relatively complete, preserved portions commenting on Psalms 37:7–40, 45:1–2, and possibly 60:8–9. The writer finds his group's enemies in the biblical text and interprets events in terms of eschatological justification. For the historian, the commentary on Nahum (4Q169) is doubtless the cornerstone of the continuous pesharim. The author mentions a “Demetrius, King of Greece” and refers cryptically to a Jewish ruler who crucified great numbers of his opponents. These references seem to be to the Seleucid ruler Demetrius III Eucaerus (95–88 BCE) and the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus, who did indeed—according to the Jewish historian Josephus—put many Jewish insurgents to death in the course of a civil war. Other fragmentary pesherim interpreting Micah, Zephaniah, Isaiah, and certain psalms have survived.

Of the thematic pesharim, none has aroused greater interest than 11QMelchizedek (11Q13). Thirteen fragments preserve the remains of three columns. The work comments on isolated Hebrew Bible portions, including Leviticus 25:9–10, 25:13; Deuteronomy 15:2; Isaiah 61:1; and Daniel 9:26. The events connected with these biblical texts are to take place in “the end of days,” which is further identified with the “tenth jubilee.” According to the text, Melchizedek will free those who belong to his “inheritance” and (if suggested restorations are correct) “atone for their iniquities.” He will further exact divine vengeance upon Belial and those of his “lot.” This work presents a conception of Melchizedek approximately contemporary with Hebrews, chapter 7, connecting him with heavenly judgment, a day of atonement and a primary role among God's angels. Also of interest is Melchizedek's possible identification with the herald of Isaiah 52:7. This identification would represent a combination of scriptural figures and motifs comparable to the New Testament characterization of Jesus.

Two additional thematic pesharim are 4QFlorilegium (4Q174) and 4QTestimonia (4Q175). The first work combines various biblical portions with interpretive comments relating to the “end of days,” when God will have a new “temple of Adam” built. Thus, the author employs an urzeit/endzeit typology, according to which those faithful to God will one day return to an idyllic state of peace. The second writing is a catena of quotations that seem to focus on messianic expectation, including a prophet like Moses (Dt. 18:18–19). Though they do not overlap, some scholars believe that these two manuscripts are actually two copies of the same literary work.

The Genesis Apocryphon was one of the original seven scrolls found by bedouin and represents a previously unknown example of “rewritten Bible” (a frequent exegetical technique in the Second Temple period that wove comments and expansions into the words of the biblical text itself. [See Genesis Apocryphon.] A vaguely similar work, bearing the erroneous preliminary title Pesher Genesis (the work is not a pesher), survives in three copies (4Q252–254). This writing comments on various problems raised by a close reading of Genesis. For example, why did God curse Canaan, the son of Ham, when it was actually Ham who “uncovered his father's nakedness” (Gn. 9:26)? The author explains that since God had already blessed Noah's sons, he could not retract that blessing, and, a curse being required, it had to fall on the next generation.

Also in the realm of biblical interpretation are the three Aramaic targumim (translations, or paraphrases) so far identified among the scrolls. By far the longest and most complete has already been mentioned, the targum to Job from Cave 11 (11Q10). The importance of this work is considerable because it represents the only incontestably pre-Christian targum of any appreciable length. The surviving portions cover parts of chapters 17–42, with the last six chapters of Job the least damaged. The Hebrew vorlage of the scroll seems to have been the Masoretic text. The other two targumim are extremely fragmentary: 4Q156 renders Leviticus 16:12–15 and 18–21 into Aramaic and 4Q157, another targum to Job, covers portions of Job 3:5–9 and 4:16–5:4. Both translations are literal rather than expansive.

Pseudoprophetic works (so-called from the modern perspective; it is doubtful they were so regarded by ancient readers) are notable among the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to Josephus, the biblical prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel each wrote more than one book, so the discovery in Cave 4 of works attributable to those men is intriguing. An apocryphal Jeremianic work is extant in perhaps five copies (4Q383–384, 385b, 387b, and 389a; their identification is preliminary). Five copies of Pseudo-Ezekiel also survive (4Q385, 386, 387, 388, and 391), in which some fragments are of considerable length, allowing the reader to get some feel for the whole. One portion interprets the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ez. 37) in terms of individual resurrection; another declares that in the future “sovereignty will devolve upon the Gentiles for many years … in those days a blasphemous king will arise among the Gentiles and do evil things.” Pseudo-Ezekiel may date from the third century BCE.

A whole series of works is connected with the figure of Daniel. Some of these writings may antedate the biblical book, whereas others are clearly derivative attempts at interpreting some of that book's riddles. In the former category belongs the Prayer of Nabonidus (4Q242). This description of a skin disease afflicting Nabonidus (the last of the Neo-Babylonian kings), his healing by an unnamed Jewish exorcist, and his subsequent prayer of thanksgiving may lie behind the story of Nebuchadrezzar in Daniel 4. Pseudo-Daniel (4Q243–245) falls into the second category, describing what Daniel saw on one or more occasions when he stood before king Belshazzar (cf. Daniel 5). The content of the visions given on those occasions goes beyond that of the biblical book, but not much more can be said of it, given the work's extremely fragmentary condition. The Son of God text (4Q246) actually quotes Daniel, chapter 7, and describes a future figure of some sort. Whether that figure is messianic, angelic, or even a Roman emperor is debatable. Texts 4Q552–553 are two copies of a Danielic work titled the Four Kingdoms. They apparently relate to the visions of Daniel 2 and 7, wherein four world kingdoms rule in succession until the dawning of a final kingdom of God. This work symbolizes each kingdom not by a bizarre animal or metal, however, as in the biblical book, but by a tree. Finally, two other writings are less certainly related to Daniel. Text 4Q558, an extremely fragmentary visionary text inscribed on papyrus, uses important Danielic phraseology. Text 4Q550, Story Set at the Persian Court, has been claimed as a precursor to the Book of Esther, but it appears rather to be a series of tales about successful Jews in a foreign court, much like Daniel and his friends in the Hebrew Bible.

Also in the category of prophetic works are some dozen pseudo-Mosaic writings of various types. Four copies of a Pentateuchal Paraphrase (4Q364–367) admix previously unknown materials—poetry and Temple descriptions—with the books of the Pentateuch. Text 1Q22, the Words of Moses, is a type of rewritten Bible. It requires the appointment of priests “to clarify … all these words of the Torah.” Text 4Q375 relates to the discussion of false prophets in Deuteronomy 13 and 18 and raises a point not considered by the biblical portions: What can be done about a false prophet whom one tribe claims is not false? “Then you shall come, with that tribe and your elders and judges … into the presence of the anointed priest.” A ceremony follows, which would presumably reveal the truth about the disputed prophet. The pseudo-Mosaic Three Tongues of Fire (1Q29 and 4Q376) provides guidance on the use of the Urim and Thummim for divination of God's will. A final example of this genre, 4Q390, is particularly concerned with chronology, and also mentions Belial and the angels of Mastemoth. The writing may have been known to the author(s) of the Damascus Document, for its view of the apostasy of Israel is similar: “From the end of that generation, corresponding to the seventh Jubilee since the desolation of the land, they will forget law and festival, sabbath and covenant.” Only a minority would later know the truth that Israel generally had forgotten.

Calendrical texts.

Scrolls concerned at least implicitly with matters of chronology—particularly as measured in jubilee periods of forty-nine years or related to Daniel's seventy weeks (Dn. 9:25–27)—and the peculiar “Qumran calendar” number in the hundreds. Indeed, concern with calendric and chronological matters is the greatest common denominator among the nonbiblical texts. The calendar is a purely solar, 364–day system that begins on a Wednesday—because that is the day on which the heavenly lights regulating time were created (Gn. 1:14–19). The great advantage of this calendar over lunisolar rivals is that it results in fixed dates for the major festivals. This calendar also guarantees that any given day of any month will always fall on the same day of the week forever.

One calendrical text, 4Q321 Mishmarot B, tabulates not only the solar year and the holy days thus measured, but also the rotation of the priestly courses into and out of service in the Temple in Jerusalem. The text further deals with the moon, though it is still unclear whether this aspect is an attempt at synchronizing the solar and lunisolar calendars or whether lunar movements are being calculated for other reasons. A second work, 4Q320, Mishmarot A, provides three years of such correspondence between the solar calendar and lunar cycles. These two writings list as festivals only those found in the Pentateuch, but some Qumran calendrical works add new, nonbiblical festivals. One such is 4Q325, Mishmarot D, which assigns a Festival of New Wine to the third day of the fifth month and a Festival of Wood Offering to the twenty-third day of the sixth month. These festivals and their dates are also known from the Temple Scroll and 4QMMT. What this apparently fundamental disagreement on festivals may imply about the use of the “Qumran calendar” in Second Temple Judaism is a question worth pursuing.

The scroll known as Otot (Heb., “signs”; cf. Gn. 1:14) evidently calculates those years in which, on the vernal equinox, the sun and moon were aligned as they had been at the creation. The work seeks to align that cycle with both the seven-year cycle of sabbatical years and the jubilees, which measured longer periods of time. Two other Qumran writings concern themselves particularly with lunar movement, one (4Q503) for liturgical purposes and the other (4Q317) to concord the moon's phases with the 364-day calendar. Text 4Q317 is inscribed in a cryptic writing known as cryptic script A; cryptic scripts B and C also existed, and a fourth system of encryption appears in 4Q186 (see below). The full significance of such systems within the context of the Qumran corpus as a whole has yet to be worked out, but it is unsurprising to find one copy of a second calendrical work, Mishmarot C, written in cryptic A. Calendrical matters were numinous, inasmuch as these holy patterns were facts not merely observed, but revealed. Not everyone was worthy to read calendrical texts.

Mishmarot C (extant in six copies, 4Q322–324, 324a, 324b, and 324c) is noteworthy in another respect: along with priestly courses and holy festivals, this calendrical work chronicles historical events important to the work's author(s). This writing would be of surpassing importance to the historian, were it only better preserved. It may still be possible to ferret out certain historical data. For example, one line reads “Hyrcanus rebelled.” Although the line breaks after these words, it can be inferred that the context is the civil war between Hyrcanus II and his brother Aristobulus in the years 66–63 BCE. It further appears that the writer favored Aristobulus's faction—otherwise he would not describe Hyrcanus's bid for power as rebellion. Where such points will lead to understanding the historical significance of the Qumran caches remains to be seen.

Wisdom literature.

After the period of the biblical writings, wisdom literature continued to develop, and various types are well represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls. One particular sapiential composition is extant in at least six copies (1Q26, 4Q415–418, and 4Q423), but its rationale and perspective are not yet really understood. One clear portion reads: “Honor your father in your poverty and your mother by your behavior, for a man's father is like his arms, and his mother is like his legs. Surely they have guided you like a hand, and just as He has given them authority over you and appointed (them) over (your) spirit, so you should serve them.” Text 4Q424 is a collection of proverbs, several quite pithy. For example, one suggests “Do not send the hard-hearted man to discern thoughts because his intuition does not measure up.”

The Qumran scrolls are rich in one particular type of wisdom literature important in the Second Temple period, the testament. Thus far, testaments of Levi, Kohath (4Q542), Amram, and Naphtali have been identified, and some scholars have seen, in meager fragments, testaments of Jacob (4Q537), Judah (4Q538), and Joseph (4Q539) as well. The Testament of Levi is extant in at least two fragmentary copies (4Q213–214) and may be represented by several other manuscripts as well (e.g., 1Q21 and 4Q540–541). Texts 4Q213–214 directly align not with the Greek Testament of Levi (part of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs), but with the related, yet very different, Aramaic Testament of Levi. Scholars have known this work from medieval manuscripts. The Testament of Naphtali (4Q215)—unlike the others written in Hebrew, not Aramaic—partially overlaps the long-known Greek Testament of Naphtali. It also contains portions unparalleled anywhere in Greek and has an eschatological thrust absent from the Greek version. The Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545–548) is notably dualistic in outlook, approaching in this respect the doctrine of the two spirits in the Rule of the Community.

Liturgical texts.

Whether a given text is liturgical is often debatable—and can be argued for a fair number of writings among the Qumran caches. The Hodayot (Hymns of Praise) are perhaps the most notable; these are extant in seven copies (1QHodayot, 4Q427–432). The Cave 1 exemplar comprises eighteen columns and sixty-eight originally unplaced fragments, some of which can now be located with the aid of the Cave 4 texts. The order of the hymns varies from manuscript to manuscript; all begin with either “I thank You, Lord,” or “Blessed are You, O Lord.” Some of the hymns may be the work of the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the pesharim and the Damascus Document. They seem appropriate to his situation, but such historical identifications are virtually impossible to prove.

A large group of poetic writings is similar to the Hodayot. One is the work known after its incipit as Barki Naphshi (Bless, O My Soul; 4Q434–438). The poetic quality of all these compositions is uneven, but some passages are striking. In 4Q434, for example, one reads of God: “He opened His eyes to the downtrodden and, inclining His ears, hearkened to the cry of the orphans. In His abundant mercy He comforted the meek, and opened their eyes to behold His ways, and their ears, to hear His teaching. And He circumcised the foreskin of their hearts, and saved them because of His grace. …”

The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice is partially preserved in eight copies from Cave 4 (4Q400–407), as well as in fragments from Cave 11 (11Q17) and, significantly, Masada. It describes heaven as a complicated temple consisting of seven sanctuaries, attended by seven chief prince-priests, their deputies, and seven angelic priesthoods. Simultaneous with earthly sacrifice performed in the Temple in Jerusalem, the truly efficacious equivalents take place in heaven. The work is especially important for the study of angelology and early Jewish Merkavah mysticism.

Other notable liturgical writings include the Words of the Luminaries (4Q504–506) and Berakhot (4Q286–290). Fragmentary remaining instructions show that the Words were intended to be recited on given days of the week. With but one exception—the composition recited on the Sabbath, traditionally a joyous occasion—the mood of the daily texts is penitential. Long passages of the Berakhot are similar to the Angelic Liturgy and strike the reader as an ecstatic visionary recital. Other portions are equally unrestrained but are directed toward cursing; for example, “They shall answer and say, ‘Cursed be Belial in his devilish scheme, and damned be he in his guilty rule. Cursed be all the spirits of his lot in their evil scheme, and may they be damned in the schemes of their unclean pollution.’”

One final liturgical work is most significant for its possible historical implications. This is the Paean for King Jonathan (4Q448), apparently celebrating Alexander Jannaeus, whose Hebrew name was Jonathan. The “superscription” describes the work as “A sacred poem for King Jonathan and all the congregation of Your people Israel, who are spread in every direction under heaven.” The historical implications concern the work's mere presence among the Dead Sea Scrolls, since from early on in scrolls research, most scholars have thought the scrolls to be anti-Hasmonean. Evidently, the reality was more complicated.

Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha.

A fair number of the Qumran writings might easily be designated apocryphal or pseudepigraphic. Copies of some such works known long before the discovery of the scrolls have now turned up in the caves. Most numerous are copies of Jubilees, which is represented by fourteen or fifteen manuscripts—more than for any biblical book, except for Deuteronomy and Psalms. In addition, there are several works designated Pseudo-Jubilees (Pseudo-Jubileesa–c; 4Q225–227), each apparently a separate composition. These Jubilee works, together with the Genesis Apocryphon, Pesher Genesis, a Flood Apocryphon (4Q370), and Traditions on Genesis (4Q422)—to name a few—prove just how lively interest was in interpretating Genesis.

First Enoch and other Enochic writings (Pseudo-Enoch and the Book of Giants) are also numerous among the scrolls. All together, they comprise sixteen manuscripts (4Q201–212, 530–533). At one time, much was made of the absence of the Book of Parables (1 En. 37–71) from the Qumran Enoch texts, but today that lack is no longer considered evidence of a post-Christian origin for the Parables.

Another pseudepigraphic writing, this one not known before the discovery of the scrolls, is the Psalms of Joshua, represented by two copies (4Q378–379) and a quotation in the Testimonia described above. As for the Apocrypha, there are five or six copies of Tobit (4Q196–200; 4Q478 is perhaps another copy): four are in Aramaic and one or two in Hebrew. Which language was original is still uncertain, although there is little question that the most reliable Greek manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, had an Aramaic vorlage. Ecclesiasticus also appears among the scrolls (2Q18; a second copy was found at Masada).


Some of the most interesting Dead Sea Scrolls resist classification into the admittedly arbitrary categories outlined above. One is a manual for the conduct of holy war, designated the War Scroll (1QM). Actually, it is inaccurate to refer to it as “the” War Scroll, despite scholarly convention, because the Cave 4 copies (4Q471, 4Q491–496) and related writings (4Q471a and 4Q497) demonstrate that there were various recensions of the work. In this respect, the War Scroll is analogous to the Rule of the Community and the Damascus Document. The weapons and tactics employed in the scroll indicate Roman, rather than Greek, military strategy. For this reason the Cave 1 copy cannot antedate the later decades of the first century BCE. Those reading the final form of the War Scroll doubtless conceived of it as a guide to an ultimate revolt against Rome, the foreign power interpreted as the “fourth kingdom” in Daniel and related writings. [See War Scroll.]

The Copper Scroll (3Q15) appears to be a list of treasure removed from the Temple in Jerusalem for safekeeping some time during the First Jewish Revolt. Vastly superior new photographs and renewed scholarly interest in this unique work, inscribed on copper in a “Mishnaic” Hebrew dialect, promise to place it where it belongs: at the heart of discussion about the origins and significance of the Qumran caches. [See Copper Scroll.]

Scarcely less intriguing are the several magical and astrological writings found among the scrolls. Magical works include 11QPsApa; a ritual for exorcism, 4Q510–511, which contain hymns intended “to scare and alarm” demons; and 4Q560. This last work was once tentatively identified as a collection of proverbs, but it is actually an Aramaic incantation against various types of demons, including male and female “wasting demons”—fever, chilling, and chest-pain spirits. Text 4Q318 is an Aramaic brontologion and lunary, based on the distribution of the signs of the zodiac over the days of the 364-day year. If thunder were heard on a day when the moon stood in a given portion of the sky, this text would enable its reader to divine the future. Text 4QCryptic (4Q186) is another scroll that presupposes astrological notions. Strictly speaking, it is concerned with physiognomy, but it combines references to astrological signs with that method of divination. Written in Hebrew, it is encrypted by the techniques of transposition and substitution. Text 4Q561 is an Aramaic physiognomic writing that may be related to 4Q186, although it differs in important respects.

Perhaps it is fitting to conclude this overview of the contents of the Qumran texts with a mention of what might be the most important of all the finds, if claims for it are ever proven. A Greek fragment from Cave 7, 7Q5, has been identified as a portion of the Gospel of Mark. Very little survives of the text, and if the portion is from Mark, it contains a previously unattested textual variant. Virtually all Qumran scholars are sceptical of J. O'Callaghan's identification, preferring to see the portion as the remains of an unknown Old Greek version of the Bible, or even as a line from Homer. The most recent and thorough analysis of the question concludes, however—on the basis of sophisticated statistical techniques—that O'Callaghan's claim cannot be falsified. The question must remain open.

Significance of Written Materials from Other Sites.

The manuscripts from Wadi Murabba῾at, Naḣal Ḥever, Naḣal Ṣe῾elim, Naḣal Mishmar, and Ketef Jericho are particularly important for the light they shed on the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. They illumine the course of that revolt, Bar Kokhba's administration, and the prosopography of individuals who took part in those events. [See Bar Kokhba Revolt.] In addition, the texts provide information on legal and religious practice, the economics of second-century Palestine, Jewish literacy, and onomastics. The linguistic information they supply is considerable; inter alia they clearly prove the use among the Jews of that period of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean. The circumstances of each language's use—that is, the sociolinguistic situation—has yet to be worked out, but the materials have the potential to document such analysis. The texts also provide substantial new information on the development of the Jewish script, especially the cursive varieties, and on the Nabatean cursive and formal scripts.

The Masada discoveries are also important for the linguistic information they supply. In particular, the ostraca are a precious witness to the development of Mishnaic Hebrew dialects. The Masada finds as a whole greatly illumine aspects of the First Jewish Revolt. In this respect, they have the potential to improve understanding of the phenomenon of the Qumran caches because this was when they were hidden. [See First Jewish Revolt.]

Unlike the vast majority of the Qumran scrolls, the finds from the other Dead Sea Scroll sites are, as noted, documentary autographs: contracts, letters, bills of sale, leases, and the like. They are the primary sources for which historians have the greatest use. Extracting history from literary texts such as the Qumran materials is a tricky and tenuous process at best. The discovery of so many documentary materials highlights the anomaly of their virtual absence among the Qumran scrolls. For some scholars this problem is sufficient in itself to raise the question of whether the texts in caves 1–11 really did come from Qumran—because any group resident there presumably also possessed autographic and ephemeral written materials of the sort found at the other sites. Thus, the finds at sites other than Qumran are important both intrinsically and paradigmatically.

Essene Hypothesis for Qumran Text Origins.

Shortly after the original seven scrolls from Cave 1 came to be known, Eleazar L. Sukenik queried whether they might not be the writings of an obscure Jewish sect, the Essenes, mentioned by a few classical authors. This view came shortly to be the consensus, maintained to this day, although many advocates concede that a large proportion of the Dead Sea Scrolls are not sectarian and presumably could have been agreeable to most Second Temple Jews. Essentially, the theory rests upon two pillars: the identification of Khirbet Qumran with the Essene dwelling place to the west of the Dead Sea mentioned by Pliny the Elder in Natural History 5.73; and a series of correspondences between Josephus's descriptions of the Essenes (mainly War 2.119–161) and the contents of the scrolls, the Rule of the Community in particular. Many of these parallels are quite general, but the most remarkable—precisely because they are specific and not of general application—are perhaps the rules governing spitting and defecation. A recent monograph by Todd S. Beall compiles and analyzes as many of the parallels as he could identify. [See Essenes.]

Objections to the Essene Hypothesis.

The evidence favoring the Essene view has impressed many scholars, but certain thorny problems have yet to be satisfactorily resolved. The question with regard to Pliny is whether he is describing a postbellum or antebellum situation. If he describes a postbellum (post 70 CE) group of Essenes, he cannot be referring to the site of Qumran because the archaeological research indicates that Romans occupied the site after the war. As for the correspondences between the Rule of the Community and Josephus's Essenes, most involve rules for the communal organization of the groups being described. The Essenes are the only Jewish group of the period known to have this communal structure, but they are also one of the few about which we have any substantive information. Many Jewish sects existed: a sample of those named in the sources includes Baptist Pharisees, Boethusians, Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbotheans, Samaritans, and Zadokites, in addition to the three groups (Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes) Josephus mentions. Various other sects are not given names. Together with a proper appreciation of our ignorance, the recent work by Moshe Weinfeld (The Organizational Pattern and the Penal Code of the Qumran Sect, Göttingen, 1986) must be factored into the question of Essene identification. He shows that many brotherhood groups of the period—in Egypt, Greece, and elsewhere—shared basic organizational characteristics.

Also problematic are certain fundamental discrepancies between the Essenes of Josephus and the contents of the scrolls. Prominent here are the questions of Essene celibacy and opposition to slavery. None of the scrolls advocates or describes celibacy, and the legal texts regulate slavery just as they do marriage.

To handle such discrepancies scholars choose one of two paths. One way is to argue that, whenever his description conflicts with the contents of the Qumran texts, Josephus was wrong. He was wrong either because he did not know the truth, or because the facts had changed over time. The other way of handling the discrepancies is to say that the Dead Sea Scrolls are not Essene texts. Thus, a sizable number of Qumranologists do not subscribe to the Essene hypothesis, preferring instead to speak of “the sect.”

Over the years, several more particular theories have competed with the Essene hypothesis. The most recent challenger is the Jerusalem hypothesis proposed by Norman Golb. This theory holds that the Dead Sea Scrolls represent deposits made by the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt. The texts were not composed at Khirbet Qumran (which Golb believes was actually a fortress), but come from numerous libraries in Jerusalem. In support of this theory, Golb cites the hundreds of scribal hands found in the scrolls—difficult to explain given a thesis that a small group copied texts over several generations. He notes that, with one exception, unlike the other Judean Desert finds, none of the Qumran scrolls is an autograph; all are scribal copies, again problematic if people living at Qumran were responsible for the scrolls. The single exception is the Copper Scroll, and for Golb this one autographic text points to Jerusalem as its own place of origin. In his view, the Dead Sea Scrolls are not the work of a single sect, but represent much of the literary heritage of Palestinian Judaism.

While many scholars agree with Golb that a number of the Dead Sea Scrolls probably come from elsewhere, most continue to believe that a sectarian group living at Khirbet Qumran was connected with the texts and was responsible for gathering them into the wilderness caves. Perhaps the most telling objection raised against Golb's position concerns the interrelationship of the texts. In his view, the scrolls should essentially be a random grouping. A few texts might be interrelated, but no intentional principles should link the whole corpus. Yet, most scholars believe such links exist, although they do not always agree on what they are.

Other suggested groups responsible for—or at least connected to—the scrolls include the “Zealots,” the Sadducees, and Jamesian Christians. The Zealot connection was argued early on in Qumran scholarship, particularly by C. Roth and G. R. Driver, but was never taken seriously, in part because the editorial team working on the scrolls said that it was wrong. With the recent publication of the materials found at Masada, however, it has become apparent that virtually all of the nonbiblical literary texts found there have connections with the Qumran writings. This new evidence may lead scholars to reconsider some sort of Zealot connection with the scrolls, at least in the final decades before they were hidden.

The Sadducean theory of J. Sussmann and Laurence Schiffman is associated particularly with 4QMMT because one or two of its laws agree with positions labeled Sadducee in rabbinic literature. This theory has yet to resolve problems of definition (e.g., What does rabbinic literature mean by “Sadducee”? Is that what classical sources mean by the term? How does the term function in each literary context?) and faces the general problem of how—indeed, whether—to use rabbinic literature to write history. Furthermore, many of the scrolls refer to angels and other concepts (e.g., resurrection) that classical sources on Sadducees explicitly say they rejected.

Finally, many scholars have recognized important connections between the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Christianity, especially with John the Baptist. Robert Eisenman, however, has gone much further, arguing for a direct connection between the scrolls and early Christians gathered around James in Jerusalem. For Eisenman, the scrolls are Christian—but only because he defines that term much differently than do other scholars. How a collection of texts could be Christian without once mentioning the name of Jesus, Eisenman has yet to explain. His theory has garnered virtually no scholarly support.

Qumran research presently stands only at the end of the beginning. More than half of the texts just recently became available to the generality of scholars, which has had the promising effect of reopening basic issues in the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

[See also Judean Desert Caves; Murabba῾at; and Qumran.]


  • Allegro, John M. Qumran Cave 4, vol. 1, 4Q158–4Q186. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert of Jordan, vol. 5. Oxford, 1968. Includes several important pesharim, including the pesher Nahum. The volume has been criticized harshly for its many problematic readings and dubious manuscript reconstructions. See the detailed review by John Strugnell, “Notes en marge du volume V des ‘Discoveries in the Judaean Desert of Jordan,’” Revue de Qumran 7 (1971): 163–276. For bibliography to the individual texts, see the guide by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “A Bibliographic Aid to the Study of Qumran Cave IV Texts 158–86,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 31 (1969): 59–71.
  • Baillet, Maurice. Qumrân grotte 4, vol. 3, 4Q482–4Q520. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. 7. Oxford, 1982. Good presentation of extremely fragmentary texts.
  • Baillet, Maurice, J. T. Milik, and Roland de Vaux. Le “petites grottes” de Qumrân. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert of Jordan, vol. 3. Oxford, 1962. Publication of the texts from caves 2, 3, 5–7, and 10, the most important being the Copper Scroll (3Q15). The review by Jonas C. Greenfield, “The Small Caves of Qumran,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 89 (1969): 128–141, offers many important observations and corrections.
  • Barthélemy, Dominique, and J. T. Milik. Qumran Cave I. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. 1. Oxford, 1955. Publication of 1Q1–72, including 1QSa and 1QSb, originally part of the same manuscript as 1QS, and 1Q33, which flaked off the main scroll of the War Scroll.
  • Beall, Todd S. Josephus' Description of the Essenes Illustrated by the Dead Sea Scrolls. Cambridge, 1988. Convenient collection of a substantial amount of material from the Qumran texts that, in spite of grave methodological deficiencies, can serve as a starting point for a more nuanced investigation of the points under discussion.
  • Beyer, Klaus. Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer. Göttingen, 1984. Gathers then-known Aramaic materials from many scattered publications. The adventurous interpretations and reconstructions must be used with caution but are often suggestive. Idiosyncratic on grammatical and linguistic points.
  • Broshi, Magen, ed. The Damascus Document Reconsidered. Jerusalem, 1992. Certain to become the standard edition of the Cairo Genizah texts of the Damascus Document, with new photographs and an apparatus criticus that collates variant readings from the Cave 4 Qumran copies.
  • Burrows, Millar, ed., with John C. Trevor and William H. Brownlee. The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 2, fasc. 2, Plates and Transcription of the Manual of Discipline. New Haven, 1951. Original and still standard publication of the Rule of the Community from Cave 1 (1QS).
  • Cross, Frank Moore. The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies. Rev. ed. Garden City, N.Y., 1961. Classic introduction to the scrolls by one of the original editors, arguing unambiguously for the Essene hypothesis. Covers most of the basic questions involved with the texts as seen by the team of editors at about the time they had finished their preliminary reading and transcriptions.
  • Cross, Frank Moore. “The Development of the Jewish Scripts.” In The Bible and the Ancient Near East: Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright, edited by G. Ernest Wright, pp. 133–202. Garden City, N.Y., 1961. Extremely influential essay detailing the paleographic method of dating the scrolls. The method itself is perhaps dubious because of unproven basic assumptions and the complete lack of dated texts among the scrolls, but a sizable group of Qumranologists continues to rely on Cross's datings.
  • Cross, Frank M., and Shemaryahu Talmon, eds. Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text. Cambridge, Mass., 1975. Useful but dated collection of articles on the scrolls and biblical textual criticism; should be supplemented with Eugene Ulrich's “Horizons of Old Testament Textual Research at the Thirtieth Anniversary of Qumran Cave 4,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 46 (1984): 613–636.
  • Dimant, Devorah, and Uriel Rappaport, eds. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Forty Years of Research. Leiden, 1992.
  • Eisenman, Robert, and James M. Robinson. A Facsimile of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2 vols. Washington, D.C., 1991. Contains nearly 1,800 photographs of virtually all unpublished materials from caves 4 and 11. See as well, Emanuel Tov et al., eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls on Microfiche: A Comprehensive Facsimile Edition of the Texts from the Judean Desert (Leiden, 1993).
  • Eisenman, Robert, and Michael O. Wise. The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered: The First Complete Translation and Interpretation of Fifty Key Documents Withheld for Over Thirty-Five Years. Dorset, 1992. Transcription, translation, and analysis of fifty Cave 4 texts, many altogether unpublished, some previously published in part. Eisenman, who wrote the analysis, applies his Jamesian Christian approach to these new materials; readers who are unpersuaded may still find the preliminary transcriptions and translations useful.
  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study. Rev. ed. Atlanta, 1990. A very helpful guide to the mass of bibliography generated by the Qumran site and texts, organized both topically and by caves. For the recently released Qumran texts, Fitzmyer's book can be supplemented by the article by Emanuel Tov, “The Unpublished Qumran Texts from Caves 4 and 11,” Journal of Jewish Studies 43 (1992): 101–136, and Stephen Reed's list (below). Fitzmyer's work also provides bibliography for Masada, Wadi Murabba῾at, Naḣal Ḥever, Naḣal Ṣe῾elim, Naḣal Mishmar, and Khirbet Mird.
  • Golb, Norman. Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Search for the Secret of Qumran. New York, 1995. Full statement of the “Jerusalem hypothesis.”
  • Holm-Nielsen, Svend. Hodayot: Psalms from Qumran. Aarhus, 1961. Important presentation of the hodayot (though it is not the editio princeps), including an analysis of how each hymn reuses the biblical text.
  • Horgan, Maurya P. Pesharim: Qumran Interpretations of Biblical Books. Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Monograph Series 8. Washington, D.C., 1979. Full treatment of the pesharim, including the Hebrew text, discussion of readings and reconstructions, and interpretive analysis.
  • Milik, J. T. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4. Oxford, 1976. Includes virtually all of the Enoch material from Cave 4. The notes and introductions are almost equally valuable for their discussions of various unpublished texts.
  • Milik, J. T. Qumrân grotte 4, vol. 2.2, Tefillin, muzuzot et Targums (4Q128–4Q157). Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. 6. Oxford, 1977. Publication of tefillin, mezuzot, and two targums, 4Q156 and 4Q157.
  • Newsom, Carol. Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition. Atlanta, 1985. Includes the materials from Cave 4, Cave 11, and Masada, with an exemplary reconstruction of the original literary work. Weak on historical issues.
  • Qimron, Elisha. The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Atlanta, 1986. The only grammar devoted exclusively to the Hebrew writings among the scrolls. Generally reliable, but questionable at points on phonology and does not include the Copper Scroll or, of course, many of the most recently available texts.
  • Qimron, Elisha, and John Strugnell. Qumran Cave 4, vol. 5, Miqṣat Ma῾aśe ha-Torah. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. 10. Oxford, 1994.
  • Reed, Stephen. Dead Sea Scroll Inventory Project: List of Documents, Photographs, and Museum Plates. Claremont, Calif., 1991–1992. The fourteen fascicles of this project provide an invaluable guide to what there is and where to find it for the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the generic sense. Photograph numbers and other matters of designation are listed for each item. Note as well the author's Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue: Documents, Photographs, and Museum Inventory Numbers (Atlanta, forthcoming).
  • Sanders, James A. The Psalms Scroll of Qumrân Cave 11 (11QPsa). Oxford, 1965. Original publication of the “deviant” Psalms Scroll, with photographs, transcriptions, and translations.
  • Schuller, Eileen. Non-Canonical Psalms from Qumran: A Pseudepigraphic Collection. Atlanta, 1986. Publication of 4Q380 and 4Q381, with a fine discussion of related issues such as Hebrew psalmody in the Persian and Hellenistic periods.
  • Sukenik, Eleazar L. The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Hebrew University. Jerusalem, 1955. Publication with photographs of 1QHodayot and 1QWar Scroll.
  • Vaux, Roland de. Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls. London, 1973. Preliminary English publication of the results of five seasons of excavation at Khirbet Qumran. Much of the analysis is debatable, not least because new comparative material has subsequently emerged from Hellenistic-Roman sites at Herodium, Jericho, and Masada, among others. Until the scientific publication of the results becomes available, however, this volume is the place to begin on any point of archaeology. Compare Ernest M. Laperrousaz, Qoumrân, l'établissement essénien des bords de la Mer Morte: Histoire et archéologie du site (Paris, 1976).
  • Vermès, Géza. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. 3d ed. Sheffield, 1987. The most accessible collection of texts in English translation, now badly incomplete (even the 1987 edition was insufficiently revised in relation to the 1975 second edition). See, as well, Florentino Garcia Martinez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English (Leiden, 1994), the largest collection available to date.
  • Vermès, Géza, and Martin D. Goodman, eds. The Essenes according to the Classical Sources. Sheffield, 1989. Helpful collection of the most important Latin and Greek sources on the Essenes, with original text and facing-page translation. For more obscure sources, compare Alfred Adam and Christoph Burchard. Antike Berichte über die Essener, 2d ed. (Berlin, 1972).
  • Wacholder, Ben Zion, and Martin G. Abegg, comps. and eds. A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls: The Hebrew and Aramaic Texts from Cave Four. 3 vols. Washington, D.C., 1991– . Based on the readings of the original editors, taken from a concordance and reconstructed into complete texts by computer. For volumes 2 and 3, the authors have compared photographs and other sources, thus offering a critical analysis of the original readings, which they do not always adopt. Volume 1 contains the 4QDamascus Document materials and calendrical texts; volume 2, a great variety of materials, including many sapiential works; and volume 3, the 4QRule of the Community materials, MMT, 4QJubilees texts, and Toharot texts, among others.
  • Wise, Michael O., et al., eds. Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 722. New York, 1994.
  • Woude, Adam S. van der, and J. P. M. van der Ploeg. Le Targum de Job de la grotte XI de Qumran. Leiden, 1971. Fine original publication of the targum to Job, sometimes weak on linguistic analysis. For that aspect of the scroll, see Michael Sokoloff, The Targum to Job from Qumran Cave XI (Jerusalem, 1974).

Michael O. Wise